In order to start exercising the writing muscle a bit, I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions for top-5 lists. You know, prompts to get the brain going. The thirteenth one is from my friend Kevin, who asked for…
Top Five Individual Memories with My Wife & Daughters
- Her wedding day. The entire day was a lot of fun, and she took my breath away at The Driskell Hotel as I saw her at the top of that staircase in her wedding dress. And, in a gesture that I’m sure meant more to me than her, I had one last game of catch with her before I walked her down the aisle.
- Outside Lands Festival, San Francisco, CA. August 22-24, 2008. In between her junior and senior high school years I told her to pick something that would be a life-long memory for us since I knew once she went off to school everything changes. She picked an outdoor music festival and it was pretty cool seeing Beck, Regina Spektor, Cold War Kids, Tom Petty and many more at Golden Gate Park. We even crashed on an air mattress with friends who lived a block away.
- Her telling me she’d gotten the full grant that was the only way she could afford to attend the university she desperately wanted to attend, and her excitement caused her to run out in the front yard where I was mowing. It was cool to see an answer to prayer and seeing your child so incredibly happy/relieved/excited.
- Breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL. My wife pulled off a major coup six months in advance that involved four cell phones and 6am attempts at getting reservations…and because we were staying at one of the park’s hotels, we got to eat free. It was so much fun watching 5th grade Kelsey enjoying all the princesses being announced and walking around. Again, it’s really cool to see your kids having so much fun.
- 11 straight Rangers home openers. We saw a lot of baseball games together over the years, but there’s something special about Opening Day every year. Some wins, some losses, some hot & some cold. Such is baseball. But just knowing I had that date for both of us to play hooky from work/school and hang out were each great in their own way.
- Watching her start her own business in a week. She’s always been tenacious and driven and smart, but what was especially cool was when she’d been kind of disillusioned by her previous employer, she used all those traits and started her very own business…lawyers, bankers, landlords, the whole works. And to see where that business is now and how she’s in a very different world than all her peers who are graduating with college degrees at the same age. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and she pretty much is kicking it’s ass at the moment.
- Her giving her valedictorian speech at her graduation. Anytime your kid is recognized for excellence you kind of swell up with pride, right? But to be the very best at one of the best training schools and graduate in record time is pretty staggering…and even if it’s kind of cliche for valedictorians to thank their parents in that moment, well, let’s just say that hearing your child say “thank you” to mom & dad in a heartfelt way is very moving.
- Any time I gave her flowers after a ballet performance…and there were tons. I don’t really “get” ballet, but it didn’t take long to see who had the “it” factor even to the untrained eye. She did all the roles in the Nutcracker and danced at the Kennedy Center and in all sorts of contests and recitals and so it went. But seeing her hard work get applause from (in some cases) hundreds of folks who did “get” ballet and then getting backstage to tell her how proud I was of her never got old. Largely because I meant it every time.
- Watching her at The Lion King on Broadway when it was very early in it’s run and she was pretty young herself. We’d scored great seats in a sold out show and once the show started Tracy kept having to remind her to breathe. She was smitten by the stage early on. On that same trip we saw Stomp from the Orpheum’s front row and ice skated at Rockefeller Center.
- Early mornings when she was a toddler. I’m a morning person and get up around 5 or 5:30 am. I’d be in my chair reading the Bible or the newspaper and easing into my day and she’d come down the hallway in her oversized t-shirt, pink blanket over her shoulder and thumb in her mouth. She wouldn’t say a word, but just climb into my lap and snuggle.
- Watching her enjoy the whole deal of Kelsey’s wedding day. She was an amazing hostess and set out to give Kelsey the day she wanted. There were dinners with Kelsey’s friends, greeting the arrival of family who drove a long way to get there and include them, and even laughing with friends who helped make the day happen (which I’m sure those laughs will continue with those same friends when their daughters get married)…but that time frame kind of reminded me why I love her and enjoy this stage of life with her. She’s so strong in areas that I’m not and gets how life works…while I kind of muddle along.
- The births of each of our daughters. I knew Tracy was a strong woman, but manalive, she was coaching me through those times in the labor & delivery room (I was 24 & 26, man. I had no clue). She was amazing in those moments…and she was so strikingly beautiful during her pregnancies.
- Seeing her on her dad’s arm, in her wedding dress, walking down the aisle. That image has stayed on my hard drive for over a quarter-century.
- It isn’t one specific memory, but we’ve had some really fun times together as a family in large part because her attention to detail and knack for making memories. Family Camps with our old church family in Colorado and Arkansas. San Francisco trips. New York trips. Disney World. Beach times with family. Taking Kelsey to Paris. Greece with my sister. Idaho with the Sentzes. Birmingham with her family. Long road trips in the van. Tracy is always fun to be around on those deals.
- The first kiss. I remember everything about that night in Orlando. New Year’s Eve, 1986, Church Street Station. I think I knew then that it was much more than a smooch at midnight…and we went to the game together the next day (an Auburn win) and everything was different. Because we’d been friends for a few years before that, things happened pretty quickly after that. We were engaged by Christmas and married about 18 months after that kiss.
(Keep in mind this is off the top of my head and I reserve the right to add to these or subtract as I see fit) 🙂